THE OTHER WOMAN

Jane Green

Ellie thinks she’s marrying into the ideal family but soon realizes that her perfect mother-in-law, Linda, can be a perfect monster. What Linda thinks is generous and affectionate, Ellie sees as manipulative and invasive; from commandeering the wedding to crowding the vacation plans, Ellie can’t escape her mother-in-law’s meddling. To make matters worse, her husband, Dan, offers little support in the escalating struggles between mother- and daughter-in-law. With a nuanced eye for detail and expression, Green reveals not only the frustrations and compromises involved with family life, but also the ever-evolving nature of female friendship. As Ellie navigates through marriage and motherhood,

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Ellie thinks she’s marrying into the ideal family but soon realizes that her perfect mother-in-law, Linda, can be a perfect monster. What Linda thinks is generous and affectionate, Ellie sees as manipulative and invasive; from commandeering the wedding to crowding the vacation plans, Ellie can’t escape her mother-in-law’s meddling. To make matters worse, her husband, Dan, offers little support in the escalating struggles between mother- and daughter-in-law. With a nuanced eye for detail and expression, Green reveals not only the frustrations and compromises involved with family life, but also the ever-evolving nature of female friendship. As Ellie navigates through marriage and motherhood, she finds her friends enhancing but also complicating her life with their own desires and limitations. Yet when events take a poignant turn, Ellie finds herself reaching out to the one friend she never imagined needing: Linda.

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  • Plume
  • Paperback
  • 2006
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780452287143

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About Jane Green

Jane Green is one of the preeminent names in commercial women’s fiction. Her novels have all been bestsellers in Britain. In the United States, To Have and to Hold hit The New York Times bestseller list and The Other Woman, Bookends, and Babyville appeared on the extended bestseller list for hardcover fiction. She lives in Connecticut with her family.

Praise

“Un-put-down-able.” —Cosmopolitan

“Unexpectedly honest.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Warm, convincing and eminently readable.” —Booklist

Discussion Questions

The “other woman” in Ellie’s marriage is her mother-in-law, Linda, but there are many types of “other” women in her life as well. Discuss conflicts of loyalty in the novel in terms of family, marriage and friendship.

Use one relationship triangle (e.g., Lisa, Trish, and Ellie) to demonstrate how relationships evolve through the course of the book. Can you draw any parallels between this and your own life? Which character do you most identify with? Why?

Ellie initially idealizes Dan’s family as a substitute for her childhood experiences. How do her expectations of marriage and family affect her happiness? Did you ever have similar feelings?

How does Ellie’s identity shift as she moves from single woman to wife to mother? How does her choice of friends reflect these changes? What does she learn?

We see Ellie’s relationship with Linda through Ellie’s perspective. How do you think Linda would describe the events of the book? Were there moments when you sympathized with Linda instead of Ellie?

What is your opinion of Dan’s behavior toward the conflicts between his mother and his wife? Did your feelings for Dan’s father change from the beginning of the novel to the end?

Compare the portrayal of marriage and family in this novel with another book or film you have enjoyed recently. What similarities or differences do you notice in the depiction of the relationships? Is Dan and Ellie’s experience typical of marriage today?

There is a large cast of supporting characters in The Other Woman. Were there any that you wished played a more prominent role in the novel? If so, briefly describe how you would have included them in the plot. If not, explain which character you could have eliminated completely.

Take turns describing Ellie physically and psychologically. If the novel were a movie, whom would you cast in the starring roles?